Thomas, a native of California and member of one of U.S. television's
leading families, began his own TV career as an associate producer
at Screen Gems and moved from that position to become a producer
at Spelling/Goldberg Productions. These associations brought Thomas
into early contact with his future partner, Paul Junger Witt, who
also started his career at Screen Gems. Indeed, their first significant
venture together was on the award winning made-for-television movie,
Brian's Song, which Paul Witt produced. The Academy of Television
Arts and Sciences recognized Brian's Song with six Emmys,
including one for Outstanding Single Program.
1975 Thomas and Witt formed their own company, Witt/Thomas Productions
and a year later the two men joined with the talented writer, Susan
Harris, to form a second entity, Witt/Thomas/Harris. The three launched
their first series in 1977, the highly acclaimed Soap. Brutally
attacked by a reviewer for Newsweek, who had not even seen
the show, Soap quickly drew fire from uninformed conservative religious
leaders who threatened to boycott the ABC comedy. As Thomas recalls,
it was very close to the time of the first broadcast before a full
complement of sponsors was assembled. And sponsorship appeared as
a continuing difficulty for the network. The producers credit Fred
Silverman of ABC for standing firmly behind their creation in spite
of the attacks.
followed a string of successes including Empty Nest, Benson,
and The Golden Girls for which Thomas, along with Witt and
Harris, received Emmys for producing the series in 1985-86 and 1886-87.
In the 1996-97 season Witt/Thomas began its fourth year producing
The John Larroquette Show and introduced two new series, Pearl
and Common Law.
their company Thomas began producing feature films with Paul Witt.
Working with Touchstone Pictures, they produced the Oscar winning
film Dead Poets' Society. Their feature work also included
the 1992 release Final Analysis, and continued in 1996 with three
films in production in association with Warner Brothers.
Tony Thomas is active in fund raising efforts on behalf of St. Jude's
Hospital, founded by his father Danny in 1961. It is the world's
largest childhood cancer research center.
Photo courtesy of Tony Thomas
(ANTHONY C.) THOMAS. Born in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.,
7 December 1948. Educated at the University of San Diego. Assistant
to the producer, Young Rebels television series, 1970; associate
producer, Getting Together television series, 1971; associate
producer, Brian's Song, 1972: associate producer and producer
for numerous other television series; with Paul Junger Witt formed
Witt/Thomas production company, 1975; later, with Susan Harris,
formed Witt/Thomas/Harris production company, 1976. Address: Witt/Thomas
Productions, Witt/Thomas/Harris Productions, 1438 North Gower Street,
Hollywood, California 90028, U.S.A.
Young Rebels (assistant to the producer)
1971-72 Getting Together (associate producer)
1976-77 The Practice
1977 Loves Me, Loves Me Not
1982-83 It Takes Two
1983 Just Married
1985-92 Golden Girls
1987-90 Beauty and the Beast
1988-95 Empty Nest
1991 Good and Evil
1991-93 Herman's Head
1993- The John Larroquette Show
1996 Local Heroes
1972 Brian's Song (associate producer)
1973 Blood Sport
Firstborn, 1984; Dead Poets' Society, 1988; Final
Analysis, 1992; Mixed Nuts, 1994.
See also Benson;